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Metro Rhythm is pleased to announce that we will be hosting poet and story-writer Eleanor Lerman at our reading series this October.

Lerman is the author of five books of poetry, most recently The Sensual World Re-Emerges (Sarabande, 2010) and Our Post-Soviet History Unfolds (2005), the latter of which received the Lenore Marshall Award from the Academy of American Poets for the year’s most outstanding book of poetry.  She is also the author of The Blonde on the Train and Other Stories, published by Mayapple Press in 2009, and recently completed a novel, Janet Planet, based on the life of Carlos Castaneda.

About herself, Lerman writes:

“My first book of poetry, Armed Love, was published when I was 21.  It was nominated for a National Book Award, but when it was reviewed in The New York Times, it was called “X-Rated.”  You have to remember that was 30 years ago, and young women weren’t supposed to write books about sex, drugs and rock and roll, which was the subject of the poems in that volume.  I spent a brief time as a minor cultural icon that year, which I was not prepared for.”

It would be another twenty-five years until Lerman was approached by Sarah Gorham, president of Sarabande Books and long-time admirer of Lerman’s work.  Gorham asked if Lerman might have a book for Sarabande, and the press subsequently published The Mystery of Meteors, Lerman’s third book, in 2001.

Of Lerman’s work, Tony Hoagland states, “Eleanor Lerman’s poems have sociological savvy, philosophical rue, historical recognition, and vernacular resilience. They sing a song that is bravely gloomy, but they sing it with a fierce and earned dignity.”

Lerman is a lifelong New Yorker, and lives in Long Beach, Long Island.

You can read more about Lerman, as well as some of her poetry, at the Academy of American Poets website.

Visit Lerman’s website at

Read some of Lerman’s work below.

That Sure is My Little Dog

Yes, indeed, that is my house that I am carrying around

on my back like a bullet-proof shell and yes, that sure is

my little dog walking a hard road in hard boots. And

just wait until you see my girl, chomping on the chains

of fate with her mouth full of jagged steel. She’s damn

ready and so am I. What else did you expect from the

brainiacs of my generation? The survivors, the nonbelievers,

the oddball-outs with the Cuban Missile Crisis still

sizzling in our blood? Don’t tell me that you bought

our act, just because our worried parents (and believe me,

we’re nothing like them) taught us how to dress for work

and to speak as if we cared about our education. And

I guess the music fooled you: you thought we’d keep

the party going even to the edge of the abyss. Well,

too bad. It’s all yours now. Good luck on the ramparts.

What you want to watch for is when the sky shakes

itself free of kites and flies away. Have a nice day.

(from Our Post-Soviet History Unfolds)

The Sensual World Re-Emerges

You are on the subway, going uptown

This is the same train that your father rode,

the same city where your grandfather

made wigs in a windowless basement,

in a year so far gone it has faded into nothing

All day, you have been annoyed by

incidental problems and you are still

solving them in your mind as you drowse

In other words, you have gone over

You are not drowsing. You are asleep

But I don’t blame you. So am I

When you reach your stop, you change

for another train that takes you out

to the dark suburbs, where you must

walk along a dark road. Just before

you reach the lighted street that leads

to home, from within a stand of trees

the sensual world re-emerges, in all its

naked, jackal-headed beauty, holding

the moon in its outstretched hand

But you aren’t afraid: the sensual world

is an old friend. Or is it?  Lately,

you have been forgetting things

and you aren’t really sure

And so it stalks away, angry not

to have been embraced, leaving you

on your own, with one foot

on the shining path and

one foot closer to the pit

Call me. I have left my number

everywhere. I want to know

how this story turns out

(from The Sensual World Re-Emerges)

“That Sure is My Little Dog.” From Our Post-Soviet History Unfolds by Eleanor Lerman, published by Sarabande Books. Copyright © 2005. Used with permission.  All rights reserved.

“The Sensual World Re-Emerges.” From The Sensual World Re-Emerges by Eleanor Lerman, published by Sarabande Books. Copyright © 2010. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

Try a Little Time Travel

For anyone who has been following us for the past few months, it should come as no surprise that Metro Rhythm will be teaming up this September with Ugly Duckling Presse.  Until now, however, we had yet to announce an official line-up.  So here it is: The reading will feature four poets, Natalie Lyalin, Ben Fama, Garrett Kalleberg and Matvei Yankelevich.  The event will be held in promotion (and celebration) of Lyalin and Fama’s recently released books as part of the Time Travel Through the Cosmos Tour 2k10.  As always, the event will be held at Blue Angel Wines in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.


Natalie Lyalin is the author, most recently, of Try a Little Time Travel, released from Ugly Duckling Presse in July 2010.  Born in Leningrad, and currently living in Philadelphia, she is also the author of Pink & Hot Pink Habitat (Coconut Books, 2009) and is a graduate of the MFA Program for Poets and Writers at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She is the co-founder and co-editor of GlitterPony Magazine.

Aquarius Rising

Ben Fama is the author of Aquarius Rising, also released from Ugly Duckling in July.  Ben is also the author of the chapbook Sun Come and co-author of the chapbook Girl Boy Girl Boy (Correspondences, 2010). He is the founder of the Brooklyn-based Supermachine Reading Series and poetry journal. His work has appeared in GlitterPonyPank! and No, Dear Magazine, among others.

Garrett Kalleberg‘s Malilenas was released by Ugly Duckling in November 2009.  His previous volumes of poetry include Some Mantic Daemons (Futurepoem, 2002), Psychological Corporations (Spuyten Duyvil, 2002), and Limbic Odes (Heart Hammer, 1997). His poetry, reviews, and translations have appeared in various journals, including Brooklyn RailThe CanaryCrowdEleven ElevenDamn the CaesarsTragaluz (Mexico), FenceSulfurFirst IntensityDenver QuarterlyA.bacusAufgabeMandorla, and American Letters & Commentary, and in An Anthology of New (American) Poets (Talisman House, 1998).  His awards for poetry and critical writing include a grant from Poets & Writers, two awards from the Academy of American Poets, and two grants from The Fund for Poetry. Garrett holds a BFA from Cooper Union, and an MA in Creative Writing from City College.

Matvei Yankelevich‘s books and chapbooks include Boris by the Sea (Octopus Books), The Present Work (Palm Press), and Writing in the Margin (Loudmouth Collective). His writing has appeared in Action Yes!Boston ReviewDamn the CaesarsFenceOpen CityTantalumTypoZen Monster, and other little magazines. His translations from Russian have appeared in Calque, Circumference,  Harpers, New American WritingPoetry, and the New Yorker and in some anthologies.  He edited a portfolio of Contemporary Russian Poetry and Poetics for the magazine Aufgabe, and has written essays on Russian-American poetry for Octopus magazine online. He teaches at Hunter College, Columbia University School of the Arts (Writing Division), and the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College. At Ugly Duckling Presse, he designs and/or edits many and various books, is the editor of the Eastern European Poets Series, and a co-editor of 6×6. He lives in Brooklyn.

View all new releases from Ugly Duckling here.

For our September reading, Metro Rhythm will be teaming up with Ugly Duckling Presse.  The reading will be held on Friday, September 24th at Blue Angel Wines.  Times and complete list of readers will be announced shortly.

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